Well, we've passed the first 3 nights of the NBA season. . . and basically, the Nuggets are going to win the NBA title.
i kid, i kid. . . .
But, let me tell you why I'm hopeful. . . .
Carmelo: So, I know he's not going to have 41 every night. But, that was a masterpiece last night in Portland. He has this new jab step jumper to get defenders (I"m looking at you, Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest) off of his arms and to stop grabbing him.
That's 41 points with only 1 three pointer. He looks more in shape, quicker and his shot is more consistent.
Defensive Stoppers: Everyone wondered during the off-season if we successfully replaced Dahntay Jones with Aaron Afflalo. Well, we didn't. We succesfully replaced Jones with Aaron Afflalo and Joey Graham. They are both solid defenders who can shoot better than Jones (Afflalo has had a three pointer in each of the first two games). And, now we can throw 12 fouls at Kobe, Wade, LeBron, and Roy (this happened last night. . . Afflalo fouled out)
All in all we got more for less money in this deal. Way to go, Nuggets front office!
Ty Lawson and his headband: Um, yeah you can't guard this guy. He's basically a blur down the court. In fact, against Utah he found himself in two "1 on 4" fast breaks because the other Nuggets were lagging down court (Karl called them out on this). He had 17 points in his NBA debut, and was solid last night in Portland as well.
When we get JR Smith back, these two are going to be pretty potent off the bench. And when Lawson is put in the backcourt with Chauncey Billups, Billups basically gets wide open 3's all night because his man has to help on Lawson and Carmelo.
Needless to say, . . . Chauncey can do a pretty good "Steve Kerr" impression when it's needed.
He's had 22 and 25 in the first two games, respectively.
Responsibility: In the last few years of being a Nuggets fan, I would've bet money that they don't win last nights game in Portland. It was the back end of a "back to back", they had the late game the night before, and they are shorthanded without Smith for the first 7 games.
Well, they took it right to the Blazers and led by 8 in the first quarter. They fell behind, but eventually won an important division game on the road.
The only concern: Nene and Birdman don't look any better than last year. They look about the same, with KMart always getting 12 and 10 and 5 (grimaces after dunks). Karl has said that Nene should be an all-star this year. Well, he should quit missing 5 footer's then. These two will have to step up if we're to beat the Lakers and/or Spurs. The good news is that Karl trusts them this year, they've both played 25-30 minutes in back to back games, and have performed solidly. . just not great. Birdman is out of shape (probably due to his new contract), which will improve as the season goes on, but they need to get better.
However. . I relish the thought of Kobe having to choose between Carmelo, Smith, and Lawson to guard, and I can't wait to see Derek Fisher try to stay in front of Lawson.
Good times.. . . . it's going to be a fun year!